Digging through the lies and misinformation about the Uvalde, Texas massacre – here are all the facts (and false claims)


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Digging through the lies and misinformation about the Uvalde, TX shooting (lawenforcementtoday.com)

 

Digging through the lies and misinformation about the Uvalde, Texas massacre – here are all the facts (and false claims)

 

 

The following editorial is attributed  primarily to Georgia Law Enforcement from their Facebook page, along with editorial content written by the author. 

Anytime there is a tragedy in our country, especially something as egregious as a school shooting, it is important to separate fact from fiction. Unfortunately, in the internet age, stories and rumors get spread, often times without attribution, and lies go viral. The recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas is sadly no different.

Georgia Law Enforcement, on their Facebook page took the claims one by one and explained that every single one of them was either proven to be completely false or partially false. With attribution to Georgia Law Enforcement, here they are:

CLAIM

 
 

The exterior door to the school was propped open when the gunman entered.

FALSE

A teacher heard the shooter wreck his truck, ran outside to call 911, and was told by a neighboring funeral home that he had a gun. She ran back inside while removing a rock that was propping the door open. The doors are supposed to automatically lock when they close, but it didn’t. That cause is being investigated.

CLAIM

Police were too scared to enter the school until Border Patrol got there.

 
 

FALSE

Police entered the school 4 minutes after the initial 911 call. As they approached the classroom where the shooter was, he shot through the wall injuring 2 officers. Police could not return fire for risk of injuring kids inside, and they were only equipped with handguns.

CLAIM

A border Patrol agent retrieved a shotgun from his barber, and entered the school to take out the shooter because the police wouldn’t.

FALSE

 
 

An agent did retrieve a shotgun from his barber and entered the school, but he stacked up in the hallway with police.

CLAIM

Police sat in the hallway for 40 minutes while the shooter killed 19 kids.

FALSE

The shooter shot 18 kids in the 4 minutes before the police entered the building. He then shot 2 of those officers, but there wasn’t a single shot fired from the time they dragged both officers out until BORTAC arrived on scene. During that time, police kept the gunman pinned in one location, evacuated the rest of the school, and eventually found the Principal who was hiding with the master key.

EDIT 6/2/22 @ 1pm

It was initially understood that BORTAC called out to the students inside the classroom, and the gunman shot the girl who did; however, we’ve just received a message from a Uvalde family stating that a boy inside the classroom said “to fool everyone in the room the gunman yelled out “if anyone needs help. Yell Help.” A girl in the classroom yelled and the gunman shot her. This is what prompted BORTAC to breach the door.

CLAIM

Police should’ve found a way to breach the door earlier.

MOSTLY-FALSE

 
 

There is no one right answer in these situations as there are too many variables; however, the police were shot through a concrete wall. The classroom door was an outward opening steel door set into a concrete wall with a steel door frame. This type of door is incredibly difficult to breach without special tools, and they are designed to keep active shooters out.

At the time the police were able to regroup after dragging the injured officers out, the shooting had stopped. This classified the situation as a barricaded gunman with hostages. Rushing a hostage taker will often force them to begin executing hostages, and this is especially true if you cannot breach a door within a split second and utilize the element of surprise. An example of this can be seen with the little girl that the gunman killed as BORTAC was preparing to breach.

CLAIM

 

The police admitted that they screwed up and made the wrong call in a press conference.

FALSE

A Texas DPS official who was speaking from a place of emotion made some statements that have been completely taken out of context.

During these situations, in the moment, you only know what you know, and you don’t know what you don’t know. Decisions can only be made based on what you know at the time.

“With the benefit of hindsight, where I’m sitting now, of course it was not the right decision, it was the wrong decision, period,” Col. McCraw said.

The keywords in the above statement are “with the benefit of hindsight” and “where I’m sitting right now.” His remarks stating that it was the wrong decision come from the luxury of having more information on hand and more time to evaluate that information than any of the officers who were on scene during the shooting had. Everyone is taking this quote out of context to mean that he’s saying the officers who rushed in made the wrong decisions based on what they knew at the time.

IMPORTANT NOTES

Active shooter response training has evolved over the years since Columbine, and it continues to evolve as police conduct After Action Reviews of each incident. With that being said, an active shooter is only an “active shooter” when they are actively shooting or on the move. Once the shooting stops and a suspect is contained, it is protocol to slow everything down and treat the situation as a barricaded gunman, and in this case, a barricaded gunman with hostages. The next step is to bring in/initiate negotiations.

Uvalde PD did this.

The shooter was classified as an active shooter briefly when officers entered the school. He shot through a concrete wall and hit 2 officers. Officers did not return fire because the gunman was in a classroom with kids, and they couldn’t see him to identify a clear shot. The risk of hitting a kid was too great, and they were only equipped with handguns at the time. As police were pulling the 2 injured officers to safety, the shooting stopped and there wasn’t a single shot for another 40 minutes.

Police began evacuating over 100 kids and faculty to safety while the gunman was contained. They were also notifying BORTAC to respond with special equipment, and searching the school for a master key.

CONCLUSION

 
 

It is understandable to question how this happened, how he entered the school, and what took so long to neutralize him; however, the officers who responded did what they could with the information that they had at the time and the resources they had available to them.

A better picture of why the department didn’t have these tools readily available, why there wasn’t a better determined method of full access to the building, etc. needs to be determined, but it is fundamentally wrong to be placing all of this blame on the officers who ran into the school. 4 of them had kids of their own inside.

These claims are what is already out there being spread, and the alternate opinions are based on listening to every 911 call, reading transcripts, comparing timelines, listening to press conferences, gathering consistent info from articles, talking to local officers and parents via PM, and knowing the standard protocols and incident command logistical obstacles during extremely fluid events.

It is easy for people to Monday morning quarterback a situation such as this. And in many cases, those doing the Monday morning quarterbacking have zero law enforcement experience. In a situation such as this, it is important to let the investigation play itself out, and if the police did in fact act improperly, then deal with it. That unfortunately won’t bring back the 21 innocent lives lost in Uvalde, but hopefully can serve as a lesson for other police officers in dealing with such a situation.

 

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[all links to Wikipedia for expediency]

I say this as someone who lives in Texas. 

When a tragedy or disaster happens, try to get information from as close to the incident as possible. 

Remember about a decade ago when there was a biker shoot-out in Waco? I had someone try to use a days-old BBC article to lecture me on the matter, not realizing that I live just south of Waco and so had up-to-date information from local-level news outlets. That BBC article had been completely contradicted by the time the person posted it, and she flipped out when I told her. 

**

We're talking Uvalde, which is near San Antonio. That means San Antonio-based outlets like WOAI-TV, the local NBC affiliate: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WOAI-TV

Or you have the main newspaper, the San Antonio Express-News:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Antonio_Express-News

San Antonio is about an hour south of Austin, making it quite close even though the two cities are considered separate media markets. As such, Austin-based outlets like KXAN, the NBC affiliate out of Austin, might be good ideas as well:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KXAN-TV

I'm a part of the Waco / Temple / Killeen media market. For us, this'd be a local station like KWTX (CBS), KXXV (ABC), or KCEN (NBC) for news on the matter. Note, however, that in the southernmost parts of my area you can sometimes pick up Austin-based channels over-the-air. 

Edited by Ironhold
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@mirkwood  Thanks for your input.

Twice in my lifetime I have been involved and in the middle of a story covered in the "news".  Both times what was reported was not even close to what in reality occurred.   I have speculated why what was reported was so wrong.  All that aside it is so good to receive an additional viewpoint.  I personally found the views expressed in the news outlets concerning Uvalde so far from my experience with law enforcement (and the military) that I was stunned that an entire department would respond so poorly as outlined in all the news reporting to which I had access.  I understand that in stressful conditions that adrenaline can cause individuals to do rather strange things but I have never heard of an adrenaline rush causing someone to remain overly calm and doing nothing.

I was skeptical but all the sources to which I had access were saying the same thing. You convinced me without argument.  Finally something makes sense.

 

The Traveler

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  • 1 month later...

I can understand the cops stacking up *if* the classroom was locked, and *if* (like the schools I went to growing up) it had heavy metal doors that would require specialized equipment to penetrate.

To that end, the questions I still have (and for which I can’t seem to find straight answers) are:  

1) Was the classroom door locked when law enforcement arrived, or wasn’t it? (Additionally, my understanding is that a lockdown warning had gone out in the school while the shooter was still outside.  How did he get into the classroom in the first place?)

2)  What windows did the classrooms have, and what efforts were made to either get entry through or get a sniper to take a shot at the perp through those windows?

3)  When LE finally went in to the classroom — how did they get in?  Did they have to break down the door?  If so, did doing so require specialized equipment?  If so—at what point did that equipment arrive on-site, and how many minutes elapsed between arrival and deployment?

4)  Assuming that law enforcement followed standard protocols for when active shooter situation transitions to a hostage situation—a) how did law enforcement know that there were any living hostages left in there at all, and b) did it not occur, either to the analysts who developed these protocols or to the officers on site, that otherwise-saveable wounded victims might bleed out while they were trying to engage in negotiations with a guy who they already knew was perfectly willing to kill children?

5) (not directly related to law enforcement behavior, but still germane) As a state worker I have received several worksite active-shooter trainings, where the standard protocol seems to be run/hide/fight.  From what I can gather, it seems the victims here all defaulted to “hide” and were picked off in their hiding places one by one.  Is that accurate?  If so, why?  What kind of active shooter drilling had the students, and especially the teachers, received?

6) I understand Texas has had a “school marshal” program in place for some time that allows teachers who meet certain criteria to carry.  How many teachers here had that kind of certification; and what did they, specifically, do during the shooting?

 

Edited by Just_A_Guy
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